Richard Simmons (actor)

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Richard "Dick" Simmons
Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.jpg
Simmons as Sergeant Preston with Yukon King, 1955
Born(1913-08-19)August 19, 1913
DiedJanuary 11, 2003(2003-01-11) (aged 89)
OccupationMotion picture and television actor
Years active1937–1982
Spouse(s)Joni Simmons (m.1941– 1987) (her death)
Billie Simmons
(m. 2002⁠–⁠2003)
(his death)

Richard Simmons (August 19, 1913 – January 11, 2003) was an American actor.

Early life[edit]

Simmons was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota and his family later moved across the Mississippi River to Minneapolis. There, he attended West Side High School and then the University of Minnesota.[citation needed] Simmons was a professional pilot.[1]


While attending the university, Simmons competed in fencing and swimming and also acted in a few theater productions. Simmons left the Twin Cities in the 1930s to launch his film acting career in 1937. He soon became an MGM contract player. Many of his minor movie roles went uncredited through the 1940s. One even included his portrayal of a Mountie in King of the Royal Mounted produced by Republic Pictures. Starting in 1943, he began appearing in credited roles, beginning with his appearance in The Youngest Profession, starring Virginia Weidler. From 1943 through 1949, he would appear in seventeen films, of which ten listed him in the credits.

Simmons interrupted his film career to serve as a Flight Officer pilot [2] with the Air Transport Command in World War II.[3]

The 1950s mirrored the 1940s, with him appearing in several films and television series, at times uncredited. In 1952 he played the co-pilot in Above and Beyond. In 1955, Simmons won his best-known role, portraying Sergeant William Preston in Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. Following the end of the series in 1958, he continued to have a successful acting career, mostly in television series guest appearances, through 1982, with his last role being in CHiPs, guest-starring along with Sue Lyon and Cesar Romero.

Simmons appeared on Death Valley Days in 1966 as Peter Ogden in "The Fight San Francisco Never Forgot", in 1967 as Meriwether Lewis in "The Girl Who Walked the West", and in 1969 as W. Frank Stewart, a silver mining operator who served from 1876 to 1880 as a Nevada state senator,[4] in "How to Beat a Badman".[citation needed]


On January 11, 2003, Simmons died (with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease) in Oceanside, California at the age of 89.[3]


Year Title Role Notes
1964 The Munsters Mr. Balding Episode "Tin-Can Man" (Nov 1964)


  1. ^ Harmon, Jim. Radio Mystery and Adventure and Its Appearances in Film, Television and Other Media. McFarland. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-7864-8508-6. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  2. ^ Look – February 6, 1945
  3. ^ a b McLellan, Dennis (January 14, 2003). "Dick Simmons, 89; Played Sgt. Preston in 1950s Television Series". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-07.
  4. ^ "Nevada legislators, 1861-2015" (PDF). Retrieved July 15, 2015.

External links[edit]